Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lost Train Lines #16 Walhalla Railway Line

The last of the 4 narrow gauge railway lines built in Victoria, Moe - Walhalla, took almost 6 years to build as it challenged engineers' and labourers' wildest imaginations (not to mention their aching backs) with the mountainous ups and downs along its route.

Opened in 1910 this line arrived at the tail end of the gold boom for the little town; the Long Tunnel gold mine, which had been so rich with pickings, was closed in 1914 and with the main employment gone, Walhalla began to shrink.

A clever chap, named Charles Lee, organised a "Back to Walhalla" special on January 31st, 1938 which saw over 800 populating the trains to the small town in this and following years.
Not long after this, though, in mid-1938 the Powers That Be made their shorts arms and long pockets felt by dismantling the Walhalla Station and plonking it down to serve as the Hartwell Station on the Camberwell line, despite long and loud protests from the residents.

By 1944 the very reduced numbers of goods and passengers calling on the narrow gauge railway saw the beginning of the line closure with the final section closed in 1954, leaving yet another isolated rural community without any public transport.

Fortunately there were some who were prepared to work hard to resurrect this unique train track and the Walhalla Goldfields Railway was born.

For some fantastic photos and a map of the line click HERE.

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